Don’t bring the kids to this puppet show, says local puppeteer Paul Mesner

Mike Horner of the Paul Mesner Puppets, in costume for his puppet show Cheez-Its of Nazareth. He’ll be one of the performers at Kansas City’s next puppet slam, a slightly naughty show geared for adults only. The next puppet slam takes place at Paul Mesner Puppets, 1006 Linwood, on August 17 and 18.

Across the country – and right here in Midtown – underground puppet slams are becoming wildly popular. “Don’t bring the kids,” Midtown puppeteer Paul Mesner advises potential audiences. “And another thing we tell folks, if you’re easily offended, don’t come.”

According to the Puppet Slam Network website, the increasingly popular events are a combination of “vaudeville, burlesque, and performance art through the intersection of experimental theater, art, music, and dance as a viable alternative to the culturally homogenous digital mass media.” They feature short-form puppet theater for adult audiences and often take place at small venues, nightclubs or art spaces.

In Kansas City, a local consortium of veteran and novice puppeteers get together about four times a year for puppet slams. They’re held in the Paul Mesner Puppet building at 1006 Linwood. Mesner, who participates in the slams, says they provide an opportunity for puppeteers to market their work to adults. “As adults who perform for children, because puppetry is thought of in this country as a children’s art form, we desire sometimes to speak to the other adults in the room intellectually within our art form. And so it gives us a venue to speak.”

Puppets are also funny, Mesner says. It’s just funnier seeing a puppet do something than seeing a human do the same thing. He says performing for adults allows puppeteers to become entirely different characters than those they create for children.

Get tickets at 816-235-6222 or call 816-756-3500 for more information

Paul Mesner Puppets

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